Laetitia Cash hears from her father, Sir William Cash MP, the veteran Eurosceptic, about the significance of today’s Brexit vote
Laetitia Cash: Over the duration of this 30-year battle to restore British democracy, what have been your most memorable moments?
Bill Cash: The Maastricht campaign of the early 1990s and then actually getting the Referendum, with a rebellion of 81 backbench Conservative MPs on 24th October 2011. This led to the EU Referendum Bill and to today’s vote. Now the British people have a chance to use their vote and make their decision to regain what’s been lost. It’s down to the British people. I trust them to make the right decision in order for them to govern themselves.
The few years running up the 1997 General Election when Sir James Goldsmith founded his Referendum Party was also a memorable time. I was working within Parliament to apply constant pressure on John Major and his government insisting the British people be given a Referendum, while Jimmy worked fielding candidates and fighting the election from the outside. It was only two months later that he died. Margaret Thatcher, myself and Jimmy would hold long conversations and share alternative visions of a nation state-based Europe and exchange ideas on how we felt an anti-democratic federal EU could be halted.
Laetitia Cash: What do you say to those who argue that to Vote Leave is too uncertain?
Bill Cash: Nobody should have doubted that change of this kind, to go back to governing yourself properly and democratically, would not carry a degree of uncertainty. It’s inherent in the system, but it’s more dangerous to stay in the EU with its unaccountability, rather than having the immediacy of Parliament at home. Your own government in the confidence that if you vote in the wrong people you can turf them out at the next general election.
Laetitia Cash: What do you say to those who say there’s no proper plan for Brexit?
Bill Cash: We’ve governed ourselves for 400 years and done it successfully. We have one of the best economies in the world. We make a huge surplus with the rest of the world. There is nothing better for the British economy than to be using our own judgment rather than having to seek the EU’s approval. We have a common language with the majority of the rest of the world and our legal and constitutional laws are considered among the best.
Laetitia Cash: What about the knock to our trade if the EU were to retaliate by imposing heavy tariffs?
Bill Cash: As we have done for centuries, we are more than equipped and competent to trade peacefully with Europe and the rest of the world, but this time we will be trading on our own terms. All trading will continue for the simple reason the EU need to trade with us – they need our democracy and our stability.
Laetitia Cash: What is most likely to happen if we vote out or remain?
Bill Cash: It’s not merely a matter of risk, it’s positively damaging to stay in – democratically, politically and economically. According to the European Scrutiny Committee Report, and as Jeremy Paxman substantiated in his recent BBC documentary, 59 per cent of all our laws are now made through the EU and European Act.
As Mervin King, former Governor of the Bank of England said in his book End of Alchemy, the euro is doomed. The whole of the euro crisis: massive unemployment, waves of immigration, riots, protests, collapse of the democratic system, collapse of the single currency, rise of the far right – I predicted all this in 1990 in my book Against a Federal Europe. I also predicted there would be an EU dominated by Germany, because of its economic advantages derived from the status quo.
Laetitia Cash: Given the propaganda, people are more confused than ever. What are the real salient facts about our trade relationship with the EU?
In relation to the Single Market, Cameron keeps on saying it’s an advantage to Britain, but the facts are that the position at the moment is that we are running a trade loss with the other 27 member states within the EU. This is directly from the Office of National Statistics and House of Commons library.
The facts people have been are crying out for are these: that the UK is running a trade loss (in goods and services in our exports to the whole of the EU) of £68 billion per year. This figure went up by seven billion last year alone. Yet with our trade with the rest of the world (same goods and services) we are achieving a surplus of over £30 billion, so getting stronger by the year.
In respect of the current EU trade arrangements within the Single Market, Germany is running at a trade surplus £82 billion. While we are making a loss of £68 billion and Germany is making a profit of £81 billion.
Germany is getting more and more entrenched in the European economy and voting system, while we are losing the majority of our control to govern our own affairs with our trade loss down another seven billion last year alone.
Laetitia Cash: What should voters most bear in mind today on June 23rd?
Bill Cash: The whole of our democratic system and the way in which this government is being controlled by the EU and particularly the European Commission. If we don’t get that right, the question of who governs Britain, your country, your democracy, over which people have fought and died, if you get that wrong, you get everything wrong.
This wholesale surrender of sovereignty which will happen if the British people endorse all the Treaties over the last 41 years in a Vote to Remain, not only affects our political democratic system, it affects voters directly and their daily economic lives. It’s fundamentally a question about our liberty and our right to choose our government.
Laetitia Cash: What is the historical significance of today’s EU Referendum?
Bill Cash: It is seismic. It’s as big as the Civil War in the 17th Century, the Restoration of the Monarchy in the 1660s, the Hanoverian succession in 1700, the war of Spanish Succession, the Repeal of The Corn Laws, it’s bigger than that. Giving the working class the vote – giving women the vote. It’s about giving the British people having control over who governs the country they love.
In the days of World War I and World War II it was about war and military success – today it’s over treaties people haven’t read and that determine the destiny of their lives. It is an abuse of the rule of law and its relationship to the people. It’s reminiscent of the appeasement period of 1930s. If the country votes to remain, the UK will be in the second tier of a Europe dominated by the strongest economic country to the detriment of the rest.
Laetitia Cash: What do you think about the political establishment at the top of the government and the EU, which appears to be hand in glove with the multinational corporations?
Cameron said through the Queen’s speech we will continue to hold Parliamentary supremacy, but it’s exactly the opposite. Today 59 per cent of our laws are made behind closed doors by bureaucrats in the European Commission in cahoots with the corporate-political elite. The object of the EU Project, as clearly set out in the treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon is to create a political union and to undermine the democratic system and national parliaments of each member state.
We saved Europe repeatedly and we’ve created our own stable democratic system. The Remainers say the EU institutions want and need us in Europe and yet they are hell bent on undermining our democracy. They are moving towards full political union under the EU institutional structure powered by the political elite and the Commission. This is set out in the Five Presidents’ Report – it includes the erosion of our economic strength and the destruction of our democracy – if you get that wrong you get everything wrong.
Laetitia Cash: What do you say to those who say Vote Remain’s voice has been the loudest?
Bill Cash: The propaganda machinery has been deployed on a monumental scale. It has been absolutely relentless. It is propaganda and in breach of a promise given on the floor of the House of Commons. The Minister of Europe said to me that the information they would provide to British people would be accurate and impartial. That has not happened.
Vast amounts of taxpayers’ money has been spent sending out leaflets to tens of millions of households and on posters and social media. We have a very clear opinion from the Speaker himself that this is unlawful and that they are not entitled to use the government agencies and resources in this manner – it is a breach of the purdah rules I helped to draft. There are rules against using the civil service for political campaigns as contained in the Memorandum in the EU Referendum Bill. The government’s behavior has been disreputable. As for judicial review, there is none. All the top QCs are saying you can’t challenge the government because of separation of powers and not being able to interfere in a political issue.
I’ve been in Parliament for 31 years and there is nothing to compare with this ruthless propaganda machine and media intervention. Not in any General Election have I witnessed it on this scale. It’s a level of distortion similar to that of a totalitarian regime.